Renters’ Reform Bill: Are no-fault evictions finally coming to an end?

10 August 2022

Daniel Greatrix, Principal Associate in the our property disputes team, looks at the significant Renters’ Reform Bill proposals – and what they would mean for both tenants and landlords.

The Government has unveiled an ambitious agenda designed to bring about substantial change to the Private Rented Sector (PRS), shifting the balance between landlords and tenants.

Time will tell how many of the white paper proposals make it into the Renters’ Reform Bill and how many go on to become law, but the plans would certainly go a long way towards creating a tenancy system that works for the diverse range of people it serves.

Indeed, housing charity Shelter has called it a "game-changer".

Perhaps most significantly, the white paper plans include banning no-fault evictions, making it illegal for landlords to evict tenants in England without giving a reason.

Also significant is reform around the grounds for possession.

No-fault evictions

The abolishment of Section 21 Housing Act 1988 – or no-fault evictions – formed part of the Conservative Party’s manifesto commitments. The White Paper reveals the Government’s plans to completely overhaul the Assured Tenancy regime by creating a single system of Periodic Tenancies.

This new ‘modern tenancy system’ will give tenants greater security by preventing landlords from evicting without a reason. Furthermore, tenants will no longer be locked into fixed-term contracts but will be able to end their tenancies on two months’ notice.

All existing tenants will eventually transition to the new system, following a staged implementation process.

New grounds for possession and a more efficient court process

The white paper sets out the Government’s aim to reform grounds for possession, including introducing a new ground for landlords who wish to sell their property, or who wish to move themselves (or their family) in.

There are also proposals to accelerate a landlord’s ability to evict tenants who are causing anti-social behaviour and to strengthen rent arrears grounds, including a new mandatory ground for tenants who repeatedly fall into serious arrears. 

Existing grounds around rent arrears are also to have increased notice periods (14 days to 28 days).

The Government has also committed to providing a more efficient court process and streamlined (bailiff) eviction service.  Although a new housing court has been disregarded, procedural changes adopted during the pandemic, such as the prioritisation of certain cases and a mediation scheme, look set to become permanent features of the reformed possession process.

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